Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Mixed Bag

Last night Bug and Carmie had agility classes. I felt confident running Bug given how well Cheryl feels he is doing. And I have my Traumeel, stretch, and massage routine in place.

Class set-up was a Gamblers/Jackpot course opening (i.e. no gamble to complete – just accumulate opening points). The dogwalk, teeter, chute, and tire were all out. NADAC doesn’t use the tire or chute so we don’t tend to use them a lot in class (NADAC doesn’t use the teeter either, but we do use that frequently). Our local club is hosting a CPE trial this weekend and some of the students are entered – so Katrin made sure the tire and chute were out. I have only seen the chute at one CPE trial – it is used infrequently, but on occasion.

My goal for Bug was to try and keep him engaged, run him through the chute, and hopefully be happy on the teeter. He had a bad fly-off on the teeter in the fall and I want to take every opportunity to reinforce its wonderful-ness.

Bug was stellar. He really was. He is so happy, working so well with me, AND MOVING WELL. A couple of things:

First, there was no hesitation about the teeter. YES!!! I am so relieved. Now I just need to keep working on it, make sure Bug understands his job and stays happy about it.

Second, he gave me Eeyore ears on the dogwalk which leads me to believe I need to make the dogwalk a happier and more exciting place. HANDFULS of cookies upon completing? It is hard to treat a running dog walk….thoughts? It might just be that he hasn’t seen it in a while. He did seem to get more confident as the night went on and he never-ever balked (we did it a few times as it was a 5 pt obstacle) – I just noticed his stress-y ears. Thank god for those expressive ears – they tell a very complete story.

No problem with the chute. He did try to avoid the tire - he did the slinky Eeyore ear bit. Once he took the obstacle he did receive a handful of treats.

All in all I couldn’t be happier with how he ran in terms of structure and working with me. He’s really starting to come along and it is very exciting to witness. We stretched and massaged prior to our runs and after. He does not appear to be tight this morning and will be seeing Cheryl this weekend.

Carmie’s class was a different story. She and I were completely out of sync. She cut behind me a couple of time and kept listing toward me and missing obstacles. It was really, really weird.

With Carmie I tried to use the course as an opportunity to work on some obstacles she has issues with (the chute, and weaves primarily). Our weave poles were awful. Why?! She has been doing so well. I guess this is the learning curve. She had a truly difficult time with them. Ugh. Who knows why – bad night, lighting, etc. They sucked and we sucked at them. YUCK. The first time I ended up switching sides to attempt to assist her and she did end up getting them, but it wasn’t so pretty and they went downhill from there.

She did get through the chute. Gods bless her – she really hates it and CRAWLS through at such a pace. But I asked, and she did it for me – a couple of times.

We missed many jumps because she was listing or cutting behind me. She’s never done that before. I asked Katrin if she thought she should see Cheryl and she said she did not think it was structural – her jumping form looked okay. SO….I guess we will chalk it up to a very off night. I hope I don’t see that version of Carmen often. It is no fun to be so totally out of sync with your dog. Yuck! Hopefully we will be communicating better this weekend!


Dawn said...

We trained the dog walk first with a stop at the end, then we used a tossed toy to get Magic up to speed. By the time we stopped stopping at the end, he was way more confident with running across and it just moved into a running contact. Now, I will admit, he does occasionally give me a leap over the yellow, but not too often.

manymuddypaws said...

do you use a clicker? you could mark for speed and confidence- feed when he's done..

Nancy said...

Glad to hear Bug is feeling good! For a running contact, I would use a clicker or Yes, or whatever word you like, and a treat pouch at the end, or tossed, whichever Bug would like better.
Good luck,

Jules said...

I do use a clicker, so I will plan on marking it with the clicker or verbally and then rewarding with toy or food afterward. We went over a little bridge with running water yesterday and he was a bit freaked out. I might try to build happiness about the bridge too - I wouldn't be surprised if some of it transferred. thanks!